5 Things to do before travelling abroad

It’s so easy to get swept up in everything you have to do before travelling abroad. I thought I’d share the 5 things I always make sure to do before I take off.

Buy Travel Insurance

I’ve never had a situation where I used my travel insurance (touch wood), but I definitely wouldn’t want to be caught without it! I always use Australia Post‘s travel insurance. I find it to be relatively cheap compared to insurance offered by travel agencies and it has a lot of flexibility in adding extras if you are carrying expensive equipment (such as camera gear) or will be doing activities like snow sports or riding motorbikes. There are three different levels of cover so you can find the right one for your trip.

Register on Smart Traveller

Going on a holiday is a fun, exciting thing! But even though it’s the last thing you want to think about there is always a chance of something bad happening while you are abroad. I’ve been caught in an earthquake in Japan and faced a tsunami warning in Vanuatu but have been incredible fortunate to have had an extremely safe travel history. It’s important for the government to know who is in a country and where they are if something like a natural disaster or incident happens, so that they can assist in locating you and bringing you home or to safety. Once you have locked down your entire trip you can register your itinerary on Smart Traveller so they know where to find you in an emergency and who to contact back home.

Share Itinerary

It’s one thing to share your itinerary with the government, but it’s also important to make sure your friends and family have an idea of where you’ll be and when, and how they can contact you at each stage of your journey. Before I leave I normally leave a copy of my itinerary with my family so they know where we will be at any given time. Make sure to include specific details around your hotels and periods of time that you think you won’t have internet. It won’t only stop them worrying but can also come in handy if they get hit with a Facebook scam where hackers use your account or create one similar to ask for money.

Contact the bank

The last thing you want on holiday is your card being locked down by the bank because they think something suspicious is going on! Before you leave on your trip contact your bank to let them know you’ll be travelling abroad, where to and for what dates. While you’re chatting with them you might want to double check any international transaction fees or atm fees you could face abroad. In the past we have used a Commonwealth Bank travel money card that allowed us to easily transfer money onto it using the app.

Go Shopping

I don’t flight internationally that often. So when I do I always try to make the most of the Tourist Refund Scheme. As taken from the Home Affairs website:

The TRS allows Australians and overseas visitors to claim a refund, (subject to certain conditions), of the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax paid on goods bought in Australia and then taken out of Australia. As you leave the country, you must wear or carry the goods as hand luggage with you, unless the goods are oversized goods or liquids, aerosols and gels restricted to hold luggage for security reasons.”

There are a heap of rules and restrictions around what you can take and claim and how to do it. On a super basic level it means that you can buy a pair of headphones (the items have to be $300+) and after you go through customs you take the headphones and the receipt to the TRS office and they will give you the tax back (Normally around an 11th). This normally takes around two weeks to come through but is a nice little surprise when it does. I’ve claimed things like my iPhone, camera lenses, my GoPro and accessories – just make sure you buy it within 60 days of your trip otherwise it doesn’t count.

So there you have it, my five must do’s. Do you have anything important you do before a trip? Let me know in the comments so I can add them to my list.

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